In a drab 4-0 defeat to the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on Friday night, the Dodgers mustered just five hits and only three runners into scoring position.
Logan Webb of the Giants took advantage of the Dodgers’ aggression, relying on his changeup and slider much more than his ground-ball-inducing sinking fastball to blank the Dodgers on five hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out ten and walked none.
If the Dodgers don’t make faster and more efficient adjustments against San Francisco right-hander Kevin Gausman in Game 2, they risk losing the opening two games of the best-of-five series.
Here are five key lessons from the game on Friday night:
After the game, manager Dave Roberts stated that he would shift center fielder Cody Bellinger to first base and start Chris Taylor in center field for Game 2. Taylor blasted a walk-off two-run homer in Wednesday night’s wild-card victory against the St. Louis Cardinals.
He could smash his ailing lineup even harder by starting left-handed-hitting Gavin Lux in left field instead of AJ Pollock.
Pollock had a fantastic regular season, batting.297 with a career-high.297 on-base percentage.
He had one hit in his final 10 regular-season at-bats, went 0 for three with a strikeout in the wild-card victory, and looked outmatched at the plate Friday night, striking over twice and returning to the mound.
To begin the third, Pollock whiffed on a Webb slider. He started his at-bat in the fifth inning by swinging wildly at a low-and-away slider that was a foot off the plate. For strike three, he swung through a slider on the inside corner before swinging through an 86-mph changeup.
The bottom four hitters in the lineup went hitless in 12 at-bats, striking out seven times. Webb threw 36 changeups and sliders against the Dodgers, who whiffed on 19 of them.
Roberts remarked of Webb, “I felt he had excellent command tonight, especially to the glove-side against right-handed batters.” “Then he went down below to the slider and changed it up. We simply chased a lot more than we should have, and until you make changes, they’ll keep going to the well.”